Ben Bostrom was ready to drop the hammer when the hammer dropped on him.A lap after the Clark Motorsports Yamaha rider had taken Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young for fourth place, Bostrom was setting out for the leaders, who he was certain he could catch, when it all went pear-shaped.Bostrom had a violent high-side while on the short straightaway between turns one and two, and just after chopping the throttle 10%.”I don’t know why I crashed. It’s just a bummer,” he said of the crash that broke his ribs and left him with a raspberry on his left hip.
The team was as confused as Bostrom, who was hopeful there was video that might provide some clarity. Coming out of the first turn, a right hander, he picked up the throttle and it was “spinning like normal and you’re kind of like half throttle there and I’m just about to open it up and I go, ‘It’s spinning a little too much,’ and I cracked off and the next thing I know I’m staring at my front windshield.”Normally when you crack it off it just snaps, wiggles and you get right back on the gas. It snapped a little bit and I fell over the front of the bike.”Bostrom wasn’t able to hang on because of his damaged right thumb. He originally damaged the tendon in the thumb at Mid-Ohio, but put off surgery until after the Laguna Seca race a week later, “because I wanted to race Laguna without a pin in my hand. I wanted to win that event,” which he did, his first Superbike win since 2004. The thumb hasn’t responded and is barely functional; he grips the handlebar with his palm and four fingers.”I think it’s the reason I fell off the bike, but I don’t know why I crashed on the straightaway, but I know it really destroyed my bike,” he said.And at the worst time. The R1 was “so easy to ride; when I was behind Blake (Young) I was really just on cruise control. I was like, ‘As soon as we go by him we’re going to go low-21’s and catch up and make those guys work.’ I didn’t get a chance to. I went by Blake, I was like, ‘Well, it’s time to start to step it up, so I just started to put the thing in cruise control and I crashed. I didn’t even make it half a lap.”When the R1 snapped sideways, his hand slipped on the grip and he fell over the front. “The scariest part was ‘Did I put enough time in that little third of a lap for Blake not to run me over? Because I know I’d just passed him. Fortunately he avoided me.”Bostrom was quickly up and looking for his Yamaha, which he couldn’t find, a situation he’d never before experienced. When he didn’t immediately see it, he thought, “My bike should be around here somewhere, and I saw it up in the air and I said, ‘Oh my god,’ you know. And I saw just it lawn dart in. It was crazy. And I thought, ‘Man, it’s nuts,’ because I’ve never crashed on a straightaway and I thought the bike would end up past turn two, because it lawn darted. I ended up in turn two and the bike was only ten feet from me, leaking gas, and I said, ‘Whoa.’ And I didn’t want anybody around because there was gas. It was scary.”The television feed didn’t show the entire accident, but it did show Bostrom pointing to the fluids leaking on the track, which caused a red flag. The bike was too heavily damaged for Bostrom to make the re-start or try for his ninth podium, or second win, of the year. He’d finished a close third in Saturday’s red flag-stopped race, .801 secs. behind winner Josh Hayes (Team Graves Yamaha), and was just about to go after the leaders when it all came undone.”I’m not just blowing smoke, but I really believe I had the best bike today,” Bostrom said.